Bread – Enthusiasm

January 9, 2017


Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”  Ps. 47:1

When I woke up this morning, on a Monday, I was in dreary shape.  I had a list of to-dos, I had meetings to prepare for, my allergies were acting up, and I had a headache from sleeping in some kind of awkward position.  I need gas in my car.

And then I read this … Have enthusiasm for the Lord, clap your hands, jump up and down, shout with loud songs of great joy!  Wonderful.  How can one have enthusiasm in the midst of common experience?

Wake up!

How indeed are we to have enthusiasm in the midst of trouble, in the midst of obstacles, in the midst of daily living?  How are we to clap our hands when there is no music?

It struck me while I was thinking about these things that my enthusiasm, my joy, tends to come from external sources – the compliments of a friend or a boss, the kindness of a stranger, a good meal, the achievement of some goal, the playing of good music on the radio, the visual stimulation of a bird on the roof of my house, the touch of a loved one, a “good” worship service, some great comedy from television or the newspaper.  These are all external stimuli and I respond to them.

But we read and are told that God in us, the internal source, is our strength.  Our joy ought to come from inside because of our residence in the kingdom of God; we should emanate joy out and become a source of enthusiasm and not reflect the world around us.  When our joy, our enthusiasm, is based on the external situation, we are but a reflection of what is going on around us.  When our joy, our enthusiasm, is based on the internal situation, on God in us, we project that joy and enthusiasm into a world sorely needing it.

Are we a reflector of enthusiasm or a generator of enthusiasm?  Are we a reflector of joy or a generator of joy?

Perhaps one test of the degree of our dependence upon the Lord is the degree we generate joy.

A long time ago I heard about a prayer to be said first thing in the morning – “Rise up like a lion in the service of the Lord!”  A lion roars, a lion is enthusiastic.

To make this prayer, though, you have to know who you are talking to and why this is a prayer.  Are you talking to yourself (a little self-improvement), are you talking to God, or are you talking to an empty room?  Why is this a prayer?  Because we have no capacity on our own to do anything – if we are to rise up like a lion it is because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so.  That requires a request.  The implied words before “Rise up…” are “Let me [rise up…]”  This requires that we begin each day with our Maker, in prayer, in communion.

Where is our enthusiasm and our joy this Monday?  Forgotten alongside our forgotten time of prayer with the Lord.

Now, one of the great things about our relationship with the Lord is that, while we wander off, He does not.  So the fact that I did not begin today properly is no obstacle to my beginning now properly.  And so, Lord, three hours later, I pray “Let me rise up like a lion in Your service.  Amen.”

And now I’m enthusiastic.

_________

© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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